PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A man accused of vandalizing a northeast Portland community center In April, made his first court appearance on Friday.
35-year-old Jarl Rockhill faces bias crime charges after investigators say he defaced the door of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCCO) and placed a neo-Nazi sticker on a nearby fence.
Police found evidence at his West Linn home, which they say links him to the targeted attack.
Beyond the shock of what happened, IRCO leaders told KOIN 6 News the timing is painful for their community, as it coincided with the start of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month.
“It’s unfortunate, but a lot of community effort has been going into making sure that the hate is recognized, and that discrimination and any bias is not accepted in our community,” Sokho Eath, of IRCO’s Pacific Islander Asian Family Center, said.
IRCO told KOIN 6 News they believe the quick action of law enforcement may have prevented a more serious crime, as police recovered an arsenal of weapons from Rockhill’s home which they say they plan to hold as a safety precaution.
Rockhill pleaded not guilty to both charges. He was released from jail but is expected back in court in June.